Shoppers braving the mall this holiday season may notice more that’s new than the day’s discounts.
Many mall owners are spending billions to add more upscale restaurants and bars, premium movie theaters with dine-in options, bowling alleys and similar amenities. Some have turned swaths of space that previously housed department stores over to health clubs and grocery stores. Others are undergoing no less than a ground-up transformation to make room for office space, hotels and apartments.
The trend has been gaining traction as the companies that operate malls look for ways to keep people coming in at a time when Macy’s, Sears and other big department store chains have shuttered hundreds of stores and consumers increasingly opt to shop at Amazon.com and other e-commerce sites.
“The mix of uses at our malls is changing,” said Stephen Lebovitz, CEO of